Author – Kanhai Vaidya, 13 years old, Aargau

Rose and Violet were standing at the edge of a cliff. The sky above them was bright and cloudless, but the view that they looked down on blew their minds. A vast number of buildings were spread out over the land. Violet grasped her older sister’s hand.

“What do we do?”

“Well, let’s think logically”, Rose said, consulting her watch.

“It’s seven o’clock. It’s supposed to be winter and freezing outside. And here we are in our pyjamas, standing in sunlight. I wouldn’t go down. Yet. It’s clear this place is inhabited, and we don’t know if the people living here are friendly to newcomers. In fact, I doubt they’re human.”

Rose shook her chocolate brown curls off her shoulders. “And if I know you, you’re sleepy right now. And hungry.”

“Definitely hungry”, Vi responded. “But Rose, we entered a portal into a new world! There is absolutely NO WAY I’m sleepy!”

“You’re sleepy.”

“Am not!”, her sister retorted, yawning.

“So how about we eat? And then you can sleep. D’you have food?”

“A few jellybeans. And… A packet of biscuits.”, she said after rummaging through her pocket. “You?”

“Chocolates.” Rose laughed. “Looks like we’re going to have a very unhealthy dinner.”

The two siblings ate their fill, and after they were finished, Rose turned to her sister.

“You can take a nap now. I’ll keep look-out.”

“Rose, I’M NOT SLEEPY- yawn!”

“Sure. Use your jacket as a pillow, and mine for a blanket.”

“Ugh. Fine.” She curled up into a ball, her head resting on her jacket. “But I won’t be able to-”


Vi rolled her eyes and turned around.

Minutes later, she dozed off. Rose turned around to study her surroundings. Her eyes fell on a narrow stone staircase next to the door they had come from. Glancing at her sister, she slowly made her way to the small stairway. The sky was as bright as ever, but Rose’s watch told her that it was already half past eight. Rose realized as she got closer, that the rough and rocky steps led down the mountain that they were on. She carefully placed her foot on the first step. It was solid and sturdy. Feeling a little more motivated, she dared to put her other foot down as well. As her slipper hit the second step, the rock beneath it crumbled. Rose pulled her leg back immediately, her heart beating fast.

“Rose? Where are you?”

Her little sister called her name several times, but she was in a sort of trance, thinking rapidly


Rose turned around to face her sister, who was trying to unwrap herself from the burrito her older sister had turned her into.

“I’m sorry”, Rose apologized. “I was thinking. Look, I found something!”

Grumbling, Violet stood up and brushed some dust of her sleeve. Rubbing her eyes, she walked towards Rose. “What?”, she asked. Her sibling gestured towards her discovery.

“A staircase!”, Violet gasped.

“Indeed. It’s about midnight now. Shall we descend?”, Rose inquired, holding her arm out as if they were royalty.

“We shall.”, she answered, accepting her older sister’s arm. Together they went down the stairs, carefully placing one foot after another.

At the bottom, they found that the streets were much busier than they thought. People – which looked human – bustled about, entering and exiting shops. Suddenly, a deep voice cleared its throat. The two young girls whirled around to see a tall, dark man in a uniform.

“Well, well, well, look what we have here. Trespassers. Guards! Take them to the queen!”



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